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The Shipwire Blog/Prepare Now… Profit Later!

Prepare Now... Profit Later!

Every year it seems like Christmas comes earlier and earlier. For small business owners this is true every year, well almost true. You may see decorations being put up early, but planning for a successful holiday season for small business owners usually starts in early summer every year. This is because it takes planning ahead to make sure all the details are covered before a busy selling and shipping season kicks in. We here at Shipwire have been tracking holiday season sales and shipping for many years and have written about it numerous times. We just posted a bunch of holiday e-commerce tips.

We wanted to put out a few more holiday tips and remind readers of the interesting findings from our shipping survey results back in May.

2009 Holiday E-Commerce Order Volume was Up; But, With Smaller Average Order Amounts

The Shipwire survey reinforces a general growth in e-commerce, as indicated by holiday season shipping trends. Between the 2008 and 2009 holiday seasons, the average order volume per merchant grew 44 percent; however, the average number of units shipped by merchants for the holiday season increased by 26 percent. So, while merchants shipped more product, they sold a lesser amount to each buyer (the average unit size decreased while the total shipments increased).

“This shows that while merchants did ship 26% more product, they shipped it in more orders; this seems to indicate that there were more online shoppers; but, the average customer bought slightly less product per order in 2009 over 2008,” stated Mr. Schechter. “It appears that there is a growing comfort with making impulse purchases online. This is a trend I would expect to continue with a global recession butting heads with the pricing efficiency and convenience of online and mobile commerce.”

Here are some other interesting holiday tidbits we’ve accumulated from around the web:

  • Searches for “buy online, pick up in store” were up by as much as 100% this past December 2009 and Searches for ‘promo codes’ increased by as much as 55% year-over-year. consider putting a promo code section on your website today!
  • Half of all new internet connections will come from mobile phones. So bake in your mobile communications strategy into the larger communications strategy now.
  • Black Friday (the Friday following Thanksgiving): Searches rose 20% year-over-year as consumers flock online during the traditionally offline shopping event.
  • In 2009 consumer interest in apparel, electronics and toys was revived, as searches in the apparel and toys categories rose about 50% and searches in the consumer electronics category more than tripled over last year. Did you know that Shipwire specializes in fulfillment for these industries?
  • The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when retailers make most of their money.
  • Two of the top three days for purchases from Retail websites were Mondays, including Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving, which will fall on November 30th this year).
  • The week before Christmas 2009 accounted for a surprising 20% of post-Black Friday online sales.
  • 42% of consumers plan to complete the majority of their purchases in early/mid December while 6% plan to wait until the last minute. (Nate in our office is one of the 6%)
  • In the final days before Christmas, expect consumers to continue their deal-seeking ways as they hunt for the hottest items and where to buy them. Ensure your online presence is strong to reach these consumers during this final push.
  • Conversion rates to top retail sites rebounded immediately following the holidays, reaching November levels.

So start preparing now and get ready to profit later! And don’t forget to get ready for free shipping day.

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